Polarity; Unit 3:D

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  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 05-11-13 10:17
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  • Polarity
    • Polarity is the power structure and distribution of power in the international system
    • Bipolarity
      • The distribution of power in which two states have.
        • E.G USA and USSR causing tension and suspicion shown in the cold war.
      • Advantages
        • The MAD may appease chances of conflict
        • There will be a balance of power between two powers as they check each other
        • Countries have 2 systems of government they can choose to align themselves with and not just one.
      • Disadvantages
        • The suspicion and mistrust between nations may hinder world stability
        • A tense peace can still lead to indirect conflict
    • Unipolarity
      • The distribution of power in which one state has most cultural, economic, political and military influence in the world.
      • Advantages
        • It can act as world policemen
        • There will be no rivals in power, and therefore there may be less chance of conflict
      • Disadvantages
        • Role as policeman lies on willingness of the superpower to intervene and use resources in times of crisis
        • Other states may undermine their own national interests to support the superpower
          • E.G. Pakistan supporting the US on Iraq
        • More conflicts as other rising powers will be competing against each other
    • Multipolarity
      • Distribution of power in which more than two states
      • Advantages
        • Provide an alternative source of influence to check on and balance distribution of power
        • Compromises would have to be made as power will be more widespread
        • States cannot just act in self interest so conflicts are avoided
      • Disadvantages
        • Realist: one state will charge for superpower status or conflicts will occur as states do not naturally get along
        • Organisations (e.g. UN) could become ineffective and powerless as there will be no dominating common interest


Old Sir


The five Powerpoints by Laura labelled 3D, of which this is one, will be very useful when used in conjunction with one another, as a starting-point for students preparing to discuss the major issues of international politics. Each of them makes brief reference to some of the areas from which case studies or examples may be gathered in order to engage in meaningful discussion and address assessment objective 2, (evaluation and analysis).

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